JACK Docherty has been tickling our funny bones for years. From his early days writing for Spitting Image and The World According to Smith & Jones to starring roles in self-penned comedy sketch show Absolutely and the sitcom Mr Don & Mr George.

If you’re not familiar with his work – er, where have you been? – Docherty cut his teeth in The Bodgers, a sketch group formed with his George Watson’s College school friends Moray Hunter, Gordon Kennedy and Peter Baikie in Edinburgh.

Together they made Channel 4 series Absolutely, which first aired in 1989. The show had a devoted following: Stoneybridge Town Council’s bid to host the Olympics has been voted one of the top 50 comedy sketches of all time.

Another cult favourite from Absolutely is McGlashan, a playwright and fervent Scottish nationalist. In one infamous skit the bold McGlashan cycles to the Scotland-England Border, steps across and hurls abuse before cycling away while anxiously looking over his shoulder.

More recent years have seen Docherty, 56, grace our screens as larger-than-life Chief Commissioner Cameron Miekelson in BBC Scotland comedy series Scot Squad.

Styled as a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary, it follows bumbling and gaff-prone Miekelson – who heads the fictional Scottish Police Force – alongside his beleaguered officers as they go about their daily business upholding law and order.

Miekelson has declared war on naughty number plates, began preparations for a zombie crisis, tried his hand at online gaming and been voluntarily Tasered – all in the line of duty.

As the fifth series begins on Thursday, a bombshell awaits. There’s a new chief in town: Miekelson has been suspended following an undercover tabloid sting.

Thankfully Docherty is somewhat more adept at dealing with the press. And good fun too. Here he talks about life, work and playing one of the best cops on TV.

The perks and perils of playing a police chief

“I get quite a lot of respect from the police. Every now and again I look up and see someone filming me from inside a police van. That is kind of weird. I was cycling during the Edinburgh Festival and there were about eight of them all filming me.

“Officers roll down the window and say, ‘How are you doing, boss?’ and I get secretly saluted going through the airport.

Being McGlashan

“You never can tell what is going to take off. I knew he was an intriguing character because right from the first sketch in Absolutely there was a great response to McGlashan.

“I remember doing him live and the reaction was quite wild at times. At the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, I had a plant in the audience who was meant to be English. It was around the time Reservoir Dogs came out [in 1992] and I tortured him to the song Stuck in the Middle with You.

“I fed him haggis and poured Irn-Bru over him. It was great fun but as I was taking him up to the stage people would be standing up and shouting, ‘F****** kill him, big man’. I remember thinking, ‘Err, I’m trying to make a satirical point here …’

Arresting musings

“My favourite TV cop is Columbo. As a kid I loved the fact that every week they couldn’t work out he wasn’t this shambling idiot. That is my era. I watched Kojak and all the American ones. I didn’t really watch British shows like Z-Cars.

“If I could pass any law it would be to make baldness illegal. I don’t know how we would enforce that or make all the bald people have hair. I think the idea would be to encourage scientists to find a way to cure baldness: that would be the object of that law.

“I would arrest Ricky Gervais for earning so much more than me and being too successful.”

Snog, marry, avoid: Juliet Bravo, Cagney and Lacey, Officer Karen from Scot Squad

“Marry Officer Karen without question. She’s just so perfectly long-suffering and would be able to put up with me. Snog Cagney and Lacey. Avoid Juliet Bravo.”

Scot Squad begins on BBC Scotland, Thursday, 10pm. It will be repeated on BBC1, Mondays, at 10.35pm